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Associations between physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and alcohol consumption among UK adults: Findings from the Health Behaviours During the COVID-19 pandemic (HEBECO) study

Akwa, Lady Gwendoline; Smith, Lesley; Twiddy, Maureen; Abt, Grant; Garnett, Claire; Oldham, Melissa; Shahab, Lion; (2023) Associations between physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and alcohol consumption among UK adults: Findings from the Health Behaviours During the COVID-19 pandemic (HEBECO) study. PLOS ONE , Article e0287199. 10.1371/journal.pone.0287199. Green open access

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Abstract

Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic and attendant lockdowns have had a substantial negative effect on alcohol consumption and physical activity globally. Pre-pandemic evidence in the adult population suggests that higher levels of physical activity were associated with higher levels of drinking, but it is unclear how the pandemic may have affected this. Therefore, this study aims to assess the association between alcohol consumption and physical activity in a UK cohort established during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods Analyses utilized data from the Health Behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic (HEBECO) study involving 2,057 UK adults (≥18 years). Participants completed self-report measures of alcohol consumption [frequency, quantity, frequency of heavy episodic drinking (HED) and AUDIT-C score] and physical activity [moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), frequency of muscle strengthening activity (MSA) and sedentary behaviour] between November 2020 and January 2021. Ordinal logistic regression models were conducted, adjusting for sociodemographic factors. Results Fifteen percent of the sample reported abstinence from drinking. Overall, 23.4% of participants drank ≥4 times/week, 13.9% drank more than 6 units/single drinking occasion (HED), 7.5% reported HED daily/almost daily and 4.2% scored ≥11 on AUDIT-C. MSA 3 days/week compared with no MSA was significantly associated with higher odds of alcohol frequency [OR (95 CI%) = 1.41 (1.04–1.91)], quantity [OR (95 CI%) = 1.38 (1.02–1.87)], HED [OR (95 CI%) = 1.42 (1.05–1.94)] and possible dependence [OR (95 CI%) = 1.47 (1.05–2.06)]. The association of MVPA and sedentary behaviour with drinking measures was not significant (p>0.05). Conclusion In contrast with previous research, MSA rather than aerobic physical activity was associated with increased alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is conceivable that during lockdown while drinking was used as a coping strategy, limited opportunities for aerobic exercise made MSA a more convenient form of physical activity. To guide public health interventions, more research is required to examine the temporal relationship between different forms of physical activity and alcohol consumption.

Type: Article
Title: Associations between physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and alcohol consumption among UK adults: Findings from the Health Behaviours During the COVID-19 pandemic (HEBECO) study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0287199
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0287199
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10171250
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